Opportunities to Manage Herbicide Resistance through Area-Wide Management: Lessons from Australian Cropping Regions

Publication Name

Sustainability (Switzerland)


Herbicide resistance management is often understood as a decision for individual land managers, but their decisions have far-reaching impacts for social-ecological systems. Area-wide management can reduce these impacts by supporting many land managers to cooperatively work towards a shared goal of reducing the spread of resistance. The aim of this research is to identify what support is needed for area-wide herbicide resistance management in cropping systems. Data was collected from 84 interviews with growers, public land managers and weed management advisors. Sixty-five interviews were conducted across three cropping regions of eastern Australia—Darling Downs (Queensland), Riverina (New South Wales) and Sunraysia (Victoria)—and 19 interviews were conducted with stakeholders beyond these regions. The majority (51%) of interviewees expressed concern about the spread of herbicide resistance, but only 14% described involvement in area-wide resistance management programs. Area-wide management was mostly reported to involve sharing information among stakeholders, rather than coordination or joint activities. Key barriers to participation were perceived to be the diverse agricultural industries in each region and the costs of participation. Future area-wide management program designs need to build working relationships among diverse stakeholders, clearly define the boundaries of the program and demonstrate the benefits that accrue from participation.

Open Access Status

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Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



Link to publisher version (DOI)